Under-saturated video? And how does one go about fixing it? - digitalFAQ Forum
 Forum Under-saturated video? And how does one go about fixing it?
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#1
05-06-2014, 10:55 PM
 Belmont Free Member Join Date: Mar 2012 Posts: 43 Thanked 3 Times in 2 Posts
So, I recently got 3 DVD-R's with some old school MTV ca. 1991/1992, and the picture quality is pretty nice (considering it's VHS EP), although I can't help but think it looks a bit...under-saturated, if you know what I mean. My Mac's screen is *supposedly* calibrated to Apple standards, but it also looks pretty dull on the 70-inch Panasonic in the media room (which my brother, a certified Sony projector tech, calibrated himself). Since these are assorted music videos, I can't be certain if it's just intentionally drab (obviously the grunge and metal videos are going to be less vibrantly-colored than the dance videos), or there was a cable problem, or the tape's just faded. I know that you can use a histogram to verify and correct the white/black levels (and it certainly looks like the levels are low), but I'm wondering if there's a similar trick for saturation. Is there a reliable way to do this, or is it just a shot in the dark?

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Someday, 12:01 PM
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#2
05-06-2014, 11:30 PM
 premiumcapture Free Member Join Date: Dec 2013 Location: Boston, MA Posts: 585 Thanked 70 Times in 64 Posts
I increased saturation to 136% and took out some of the chroma noise.

I did this on a Mac too. Looks better on my screen, but I learned a long time ago that this stuff is an art, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Attached Files
#3
05-07-2014, 12:51 PM
 sanlyn Premium Member Join Date: Aug 2009 Location: N. Carolina and NY, USA Posts: 3,648 Thanked 1,271 Times in 975 Posts
I didn't try touching the mpg's, they're too messed up: bad levels, gamma too low, bad DCT ringing, halos, edge ghosts, crushed darks, line sync errors, vertical jitter, etc., etc. None of that can be fixed after encoding, so I didn't try. A line tbc is needed here in the worst way. I guess everyone realizes that the original video source was telecined.

From the 1992 mpg, before and after:

frame 21:
frame 21 before-vs-after.jpg

frame 373:
 You must be logged in to view this content; either login or register for the forum. The attached screen shots, before/after images, photos and graphics are created/posted for the benefit of site members. And you are invited to join our digital media community.

Did these in Avisynth with ColorYUV and some some deblocking filters. Then VirtualDub, NeatVideo (not that it helped much on hard-telecined media but it calmed things down a bit), then gradation curves and ColorMill. Every scene in all the videos has different color balance and levels problems -- typical for VHS. Low gamma, and midtones were suppressed, those being the biggest problems. A lot of it is oversaturated to begin with. And whites, blacks, and grays are off-color everywhere.

Last edited by sanlyn; 05-07-2014 at 01:09 PM.
#4
05-07-2014, 03:22 PM
 Belmont Free Member Join Date: Mar 2012 Posts: 43 Thanked 3 Times in 2 Posts
Quote:
 Originally Posted by sanlyn I didn't try touching the mpg's, they're too messed up: bad levels, gamma too low, bad DCT ringing, halos, edge ghosts, crushed darks, line sync errors, vertical jitter, etc., etc. None of that can be fixed after encoding, so I didn't try. A line tbc is needed here in the worst way. I guess everyone realizes that the original video source was telecined.
None of that really surprises me, since the person literally just hooked up their VHS recorder to their DVD recorder. I think haloing and gamma might be able to be fixed, although it's obviously not going to be as good as using proper filters beforehand. That being said, remember that MTV usually did not create the videos, so there was probably a lot wrong with the videos on the broadcast end that went unnoticed back then. Just think how many of these were shot in Europe, or put together by people who didn't quite know how to properly adjust the video for NTSC broadcasting.

I'm not sure what you mean by the source being telecine'd, since I would think that most, if not all, videos were shot and edited on tape at 30fps interlaced. Strangely, these actually look better when they're bob'd to 60fps (I'm kind of a sucker for the cheesy soap-opera effect ).

If it's not too much trouble, would you mind sharing the Vdub filter chain?
#5
05-07-2014, 04:02 PM
 sanlyn Premium Member Join Date: Aug 2009 Location: N. Carolina and NY, USA Posts: 3,648 Thanked 1,271 Times in 975 Posts
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Belmont None of that really surprises me, since the person literally just hooked up their VHS recorder to their DVD recorder. I think haloing and gamma might be able to be fixed, although it's obviously not going to be as good as using proper filters beforehand.
Yep, I figured. Not much could be fixed after a treatment like that.

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Belmont I'm not sure what you mean by the source being telecine'd, since I would think that most, if not all, videos were shot and edited on tape at 30fps interlaced. Strangely, these actually look better when they're bob'd to 60fps (I'm kind of a sucker for the cheesy soap-opera effect ).
Try some bob, deinterlace, separate fields, etc. The usual interlace/telecine combing is there. Won't go away for most of it (VHS1991 is simple 3:2 pulldown, which won't be difficult to undo). Some of it looks like field-blended deintelace on telecined media -- not much hope for that.

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Belmont If it's not too much trouble, would you mind sharing the Vdub filter chain?
I did some simple levels "prep" in Avisynth first -- not complicated, but it helped a great deal and made VirtualDub easier. Too bad the darks on some of this stuff are so wiped out. I can get data together in a .vcf file to post in a short while. The only vid I worked on was the 1992 guy, and I got pretty tired of that one after a while. It looks like a compilation from several vids; each segment has its own problems. The same filters were not used for both of the pics I posted; like the other shots in that clip, they seem to have been cuts from different vids patched together.

VHS can be such a nightmare to fixup. Constant changes in levels/color make you pretty tired, pretty fast. Been doing a lot of them, but I have to confess that every time I tackle a new VHS I don't look forward to that part of it. It's even worse than denoising.

Back a little later. The wife is screaming for me to help with dinner. Wives just don't understand priorities when it comes to video work!
#6
05-07-2014, 09:17 PM
 sanlyn Premium Member Join Date: Aug 2009 Location: N. Carolina and NY, USA Posts: 3,648 Thanked 1,271 Times in 975 Posts
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Belmont If it's not too much trouble, would you mind sharing the Vdub filter chain?
SOrry for the delay. Busy around here tonight. I started by mnaking a dv2 project file for the mpg sample, using DGIndex. Then I opened that d2v in Avisynth and made a basic levels adjustment that helped things along. I used these opening lines in Avisynth (adjust the path statement in the MPEG2Source line to matchy the location of the movie in your system):

Code:
MPEG2Source("Drive:\path\to\source\1992.d2v")
ColorYUV(off_y=8)
# [insert other filters here, if used]
ConvertToRGB32(matrix="Rec601",interlaced=true)
You can end the script there and do whatever you want in VirtualDub. I did add some "other processing" at the place indicated in the script -- not that it accomplished very much, and I didn't get into a lengthy cleanup routine. The Avisynth plugins I added were in these lines:

Code:
HQdering()
Cnr2("xxx",4,5,255)
santiag()
MergeChroma(awarpsharp2(depth=30))
DeBlock()
LSFMOD(strength=50)
I used three VirtualDub filters. One was a low-powered NeatVideo, working at measly 35% power. But many don't own that filter, so it's omitted in the attached .vcf settings files. The other two filters were gradation curves and ColorMill, both of which are packed with Digitalfaq's VirtualDub package. The settings I used for these two plugins are in the .vcf's, attached as a .zip file. To load a ,vcf, click "File" -> "Load processing settings....", navigate to the desired .vcf, and click "Open" or "OK", whichever applies. The .vcf will load the plugins and the settings. (Careful: if you have other VDub plugins loaded in the chain, loading a .vcf wll remove them. Load the vcf first, then load other filters if desired).

There are settings based on frame 21 of your sample and other settings based on frame 373. Some #21 settings can be used on several segments of that clip, but many will look better with the vcf for frame 373, with a few adjustments in saturation. Who knows, you might find the frame 21 settings good enough for the whole clip. But that clip does have wild level changes all over the place.

If you don't like the settings, they're still useful for looking over the two filters to see how they were used in more detail. The main idea was to make whites look white, grays look gray, and blacks look black. The "hue" isn't the same thing as brightness: an RGB 225 white is still white, it's just not super-white. RGB 20 black is still black, even if it's not zero-black. Next, I tried heightening the suppressed midrange by increasing output in that range (mainly with ColorMill), then handling saturation. Exact color balance is usually a personal thing anyway.

In my experience, just raising/lowering saturation by itself can sometimes work OK, but often with bad levels and poor color balance it looks worse. Most photogs and advanced users would fix levels/contrast first, then go farthrr. But, as usual, it depends....

Attached Files

Last edited by sanlyn; 05-07-2014 at 10:00 PM.
#7
05-08-2014, 09:51 AM
 sanlyn Premium Member Join Date: Aug 2009 Location: N. Carolina and NY, USA Posts: 3,648 Thanked 1,271 Times in 975 Posts
Whew! So, attached is an effort with VHS1991. Source sure looks like a DVD/VCR combo job to me. Garbage in, garbage out. Got it down to broadcast levels, at least. Take out any more noise, nothing would be left. Did this scene by scene, one shot at a time. Interesting exercise, but I'd hate to do this with a 90-minute movie. It would take months. A bunch of Avisynth plugins plus VirtualDub, with 3 VDub filters: NeatVideo, gradation curves, ColorMill. Sometimes it hardly seems worth it. Another learning experience. It does lack a little of what you'd call its original "grit" (some people don't like grits), so one might almost be tempted to throw some noise back in. Almost, I said.

Attached Files

Last edited by sanlyn; 05-08-2014 at 10:02 AM.
#8
05-08-2014, 12:24 PM
 themaster1 Free Member Join Date: Feb 2011 Posts: 297 Thanked 73 Times in 59 Posts
Try this script (i haven't bother much with the colors):
http://uptobox.com/73gbc2mp1kq0

Result here
http://uptobox.com/73gbc2mp1kq0
#9
05-08-2014, 01:10 PM
 sanlyn Premium Member Join Date: Aug 2009 Location: N. Carolina and NY, USA Posts: 3,648 Thanked 1,271 Times in 975 Posts
Looks better, but both links are to the AVI. No Script.
#10
05-08-2014, 01:32 PM
 themaster1 Free Member Join Date: Feb 2011 Posts: 297 Thanked 73 Times in 59 Posts
My fault, here: http://www.mediafire.com/view/h5210i...VHS1991-02.avs

and if you lack some avisynth filters download my plugins folder here (148 MB):

ccd (vdub) filter here:
#11
05-08-2014, 07:15 PM
 Belmont Free Member Join Date: Mar 2012 Posts: 43 Thanked 3 Times in 2 Posts
Quote:
 Originally Posted by themaster1 Try this script (i haven't bother much with the colors): http://uptobox.com/73gbc2mp1kq0 Result here http://uptobox.com/73gbc2mp1kq0
Would you mind putting that on a different site, like Mediafire or Dropbox? That site keeps demanding me to turn off Adblock, and quite frankly there's no way in Hell I'm doing that.
#12
05-08-2014, 08:28 PM
 lordsmurf Site Staff | Video Join Date: Dec 2002 Posts: 11,913 Thanked 2,170 Times in 1,870 Posts
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Belmont Would you mind putting that on a different site, like Mediafire or Dropbox? That site keeps demanding me to turn off Adblock, and quite frankly there's no way in Hell I'm doing that.
This is exactly why:
(1) we allow forum attachments
(3) we will use Dropbox

Sites that insist on Javascript, countdown timers, etc, are ridiculous. Even Mediafire is terrible, as it requires JS to function. I'm not doing that. If you want me to look at something, attach it to a post.

Furthermore, anything I cannot view is automatically something I don't agree with.

Quote:
 Originally Posted by sanlyn From the 1992 mpg, before and after:
On my calibrated monitor, those are overprocessed. The white is hot (IRE clipping), and the brightening of colors has resulted in harsh chroma errors. Given the choice between the original and the processed, I'd prefer the original.

Sorry.

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Belmont So, I recently got 3 DVD-R's with some old school MTV ca. 1991/1992, and the picture quality is pretty nice (considering it's VHS EP), although I can't help but think it looks a bit...under-saturated, if you know what I mean.
You're too used to seeing modern TV, in all its expanded color palette glory. The VHS is actually pretty good. You have some color saturation loss from the color-under recording. But trying to boost it will harm the VHS chroma. By trying to saturate color more, you'll mostly enhance the color bleeding and chroma errors. So you'll have to compensate. And those filters will essentially reduce some saturation. The end result won't be much better, and you'll waste hours to do it.

Do what I do -- adjust the TV when needed. I have a Sony HDTV and can filter the artifacts, the gamma, the black level (IRE), and multiple color channels. It's a lot easier that adjusting the video!

Want my advice? Leave well enough alone.

Note: I also see some tracking and jitter errors. But you didn't ask about those, so I'm not addressing them. Ask in another thread if you need help with that.

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Belmont or the tape's just faded
Tapes cannot fade. It's scientifically impossible. I wish that myth would die.

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#13
05-08-2014, 08:50 PM
 premiumcapture Free Member Join Date: Dec 2013 Location: Boston, MA Posts: 585 Thanked 70 Times in 64 Posts
Quote:
 Originally Posted by lordsmurf Tapes cannot fade. It's scientifically impossible. I wish that myth would die.
VCRs can suck though!
#14
05-08-2014, 09:24 PM
 sanlyn Premium Member Join Date: Aug 2009 Location: N. Carolina and NY, USA Posts: 3,648 Thanked 1,271 Times in 975 Posts
Quote:
 Originally Posted by lordsmurf On my calibrated monitor, those are overprocessed. The white is hot (IRE clipping), and the brightening of colors has resulted in harsh chroma errors. Given the choice between the original and the processed, I'd prefer the original. Sorry.
Yes...I could have left more noise intact, but just didn't have that much time to tweak, nor to precisely monitor levels at every second. Not much time to reconfigure 13 defective video segments in a single morning. If it were my video (thank heaven it isn't), I'd have to put a few days into that short clip -- or better, tuck it away to keep as a demo of how not to transfer analog to digits. Here, it's mostly a demo using only two specialized color filters and avoiding the usual "oh, just raise saturation a few thousand points. That should fix it." Sometimes that might work. Most of the time, it doesn't.
#15
05-09-2014, 12:29 PM
 themaster1 Free Member Join Date: Feb 2011 Posts: 297 Thanked 73 Times in 59 Posts
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Belmont Would you mind putting that on a different site, like Mediafire or Dropbox? That site keeps demanding me to turn off Adblock, and quite frankly there's no way in Hell I'm doing that.
Yes i would mind, mediafire works fine for me (always did). Turn adblock off for a minute...
#16
05-11-2014, 10:21 AM
 themaster1 Free Member Join Date: Feb 2011 Posts: 297 Thanked 73 Times in 59 Posts
If you have downloaded the script, remove lsfmod (line 125), it's causing artefacts on the fields (frame 159 for example) i didn't realise. Actually remove the whole sharpening stage (line 121-130) or use separatefields + sharpening filter + weave
#17
05-12-2014, 09:10 AM
 lordsmurf Site Staff | Video Join Date: Dec 2002 Posts: 11,913 Thanked 2,170 Times in 1,870 Posts
Quote:
 Originally Posted by lordsmurf Note: I also see some tracking and jitter errors. But you didn't ask about those, so I'm not addressing them. Ask in another thread if you need help with that.
I decided to fix this anyway. It was perfect fodder for my Avisynth MultiScript.

It's fixed about as best as can be done, as far as stability goes. The video is too damaged to ever be perfect, but this will make it much more enjoyable. And that's always the goal of restoring! Make it better, not perfect. I'm tired now, and going to sleep. I'll post this within the next few days. I did a lot for the site this weekend!

Quote:
 Originally Posted by themaster1 Yes i would mind, mediafire works fine for me (always did). Turn adblock off for a minute...
Last time I let Mediafire run javascrips (JS), it infected the computer here. (This was when lots of sites were getting ad injection exploits.) It then jumped to two more on the local net. None of that was necessary to share files.

After that mess, we instilled a policy to
A - use Dropbox .. maybe a few Dropbox-like sites; Skydrive looks good.
B - attach here
C - Premium Members can use FTP, or
D - we're going to ignore it

It just not worth the risk.

I really do want to see your scripts and samples, but it's not happening if you're using the JS sites.

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#18
05-12-2014, 09:59 PM
 Belmont Free Member Join Date: Mar 2012 Posts: 43 Thanked 3 Times in 2 Posts
Well, glad to be of assistance in a small fashion! If you want, I have some more clips with more persistent/serious errors.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/kqwqwjjsukhnw8k/DtBM.mpeg
https://www.dropbox.com/s/d89o8k0vgw6bu8m/Krystal.mpeg
https://www.dropbox.com/s/mz3b2aqjf0...Metallica.mpeg

__________

Site Staff edit: Files now mirrored at:

- http://cdn4.digitalfaq.com/themaster...Metallica.mpeg
- http://cdn4.digitalfaq.com/themaster1/Krystal.mpeg
- http://cdn4.digitalfaq.com/themaster1/DtBM.mpeg

Right-click and SAVE AS -- do not try to watch in your browser.

Last edited by Belmont; 05-12-2014 at 10:18 PM.
#19
05-13-2014, 02:28 AM
 kpmedia Site Staff | Web Hosting, Photo Join Date: Feb 2004 Posts: 4,319 Thanked 371 Times in 340 Posts
Quote:
 Originally Posted by themaster1 If you have downloaded the script, remove lsfmod (line 125), it's causing artefacts on the fields (frame 159 for example) i didn't realise. Actually remove the whole sharpening stage (line 121-130) or use separatefields + sharpening filter + weave
I'd really like to see this script, but you'd need to attach it to the forum.

I don't see why that's an issue, as it's simple to do. Probably easier, in fact, than messing with the so-called "file sharing" sites that make you jump through hoops. If you need help, PM a site staffer. We allow attachments here to make it easier on everyone.

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#20
05-13-2014, 01:11 PM
 sanlyn Premium Member Join Date: Aug 2009 Location: N. Carolina and NY, USA Posts: 3,648 Thanked 1,271 Times in 975 Posts
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Belmont Well, glad to be of assistance in a small fashion! If you want, I have some more clips with more persistent/serious errors. https://www.dropbox.com/s/kqwqwjjsukhnw8k/DtBM.mpeg
New and ever more creative ways of ruining video.

I didn't even try working with levels and color, the jitter and other problems wore me out. I used 5 separate scripts to stop all the crashing and memory swapping in avisynth, and to try to tweak each step separately. Went through 2 rounds of anti-alias, 2 rounds of stablizers, a couple of bad frame repairs, and other stuff. It could use more work (LOL!) and more bitrate, but life is too short already. The 23.976 progressive version attached seems to play tolerably well in most players, but with pulldown applied all the players went nutty in different ways. The original seems to have gone around the block a few times, with somebody screwing up field priority at one point. For what it's worth, attached is a text file of the scripts.

Attached Files